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Getting to Mexico
This detailed guide explains how to get to Mexico and what onward ground-transportation choices you have when you arrive by airplane.
Flying to Mexico
Flights to all of Mexico's main airports are available daily from the United States and Canada. The main carriers include Aeromexico, Mexicana, American (Canadian), United, Continental and Delta flying primarily from Dallas, Houston, Miami, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, Vancouver and Toronto into Mexico.
Most flights arrive in Mexico City, although flights from the USA and Canada direct to: Monterrey, Guadalajara, Leon, Aguascalientes, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Morelia, Los Cabos and Acapulco are also common.
Flight times to and from US-Cities to Mexico's capital vary from 2-6 hours, depending on how far north you are traveling from. Flight times to Cancun are 4-8 hours; Flight times to Puerto Vallarta and Baja (e.g. La Paz, Los Cabos) 1-4 hours.
For some years now, private jets haven't been permitted to land at Mexico City's airport, due to air traffic congestion. They must instead land at nearby Toluca, on the outskirts of the city—about a forty-five minute journey into the center of the capital.
Note: U.S. Passport Card NOT Valid for Air Travel to Mexico
If you are a holder of a U.S. Passport Card, please note that this is NOT valid for air travel to Mexico - you can only use this to cross the border between the United States and Mexico by land. A passport is required for air travel to and from the the United States.
Driving to Mexico
Taking a foreign (US or Canadian-plated) car into Mexico, beyond the 22 mile (35 km) "border zone", requires a fair amount of paperwork, permit arrangements and planning. If you're renting a car in the United States and want to cross over the border into Mexico, you must also make sure that the insurance is valid in Mexico. It is very likely that you will have to buy Mexican automobile insurance separately. You can find complete details, including information about bringing your own car, on our guide to Driving in Mexico.
Flying to Mexico from Europe
Daily flights operate from various European capital cities to Mexico City.
You can fly direct to Mexico City with British Airways from London (not every day), or connect via the USA with one of the American carriers (see above), or go via another European city such as Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid or Frankfurt.
There are some direct flights from Europe to Cancun and you may also find some direct flights from Europe to places like Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco in peak vacation periods. However, these routes tend to serve the vacation market and have a habit of being introduced and withdrawn at short notice, depending on market conditions.
By flying to Mexico from Europe via the USA, you will be able to travel from the States directly to locations in Mexico outside of Mexico City which are not served directly by European carriers.
Flight times to Mexico City from European Cities average 11-12 hours traveling west and slightly shorter traveling eastward (due to the trade winds).
Flying From Australia and New Zealand to Mexico
There are no direct flights from Australia and New Zealand to Mexico. Most travelers go via the USA, often Los Angeles. The best US cities for international through connections to Mexico are: Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Chicago and New York. Check to see which route offers the best fares.
It's also possible to fly to Japan (Tokyo) and connect to Mexico from there, or else fly to a European capital city and connect through there to Mexico City (see Flying to Mexico from Europe, above).
Flying times will vary depending on which route is taken; Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles offer the quickest 2nd-leg flights to Mexico via the USA.
Arriving in Mexico
Once you have arrived in Mexico, there are numerous options for getting around efficiently and affordably.
Read the guide to Getting Around Mexico (see below) for full details, and links to our extensive guides about flying, traveling by bus, driving, car rental, and using taxis and public transport in Mexico.
Arrival at the Airport in Mexico
If you arrive by airplane, then once you pass through immigration and clear customs, you will probably need to arrange ground transportation to your hotel or other abode.
If you are staying at a major resort in Mexico, you may have arranged to be picked up at the airport by the hotel, using an airport transfer service. When you book your Mexico Hotels using Mexperience, we offer you the option of an airport transfer where one is available in the city/hotel you are staying at.
Every airport has two authorized taxi booths; they charge identical (high) prices based on a zoning charge system. Look for the words "Taxi Autorizado" as you exit the customs area, or ask one of the local staff for help. See Traveling by Taxi in Mexico for details and and an idea of fare charges.
At Mexico's principal tourist destinations, including Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, Los Cabos, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo there is an option to ride to your hotel in a suburban van. The vans fill up with passengers and make a round of local hotels depending on where the passengers in the vehicle want to be dropped off. It takes a little longer, but the ride is comfortable and you pay a fraction of the price a taxi will charge you for taking you direct to your hotel.
If you arrive at Mexico City's airport, you can connect direct from the airport to a number of popular cities including Cuernavaca, Queretaro and Puebla. To go by bus to cities not served directly from the airport, you will need to take a taxi to one of the capital's bus stations and connect to your destination from there. See the Mexperience guide to Traveling by Bus in Mexico for full details.
Local Buses or Metro
If you're traveling light, you may want to use the local buses or, in Mexico City, the Metro system. Buses and the Metro (in Mexico City) are not recommended if you are carrying baggage or valuable equipment (e.g. expensive cameras, laptops, etc).
Note Airport Pick-Pockets / Bag Snatchers
Gangs of pick-pockets and bag snatchers operate in most bus stations and airports world-wide, and Mexico is no exception. When you arrive in Mexico, keep your personal items in sight at all times; keep valuables well stored inside hand-held bags, and stay present to your surroundings. Leaving an item unattended for a moment, or losing attention of your surroundings, can provide a 'golden' opportunity for a bag thief or pick pocket to steal from you.
Getting Around in Mexico
Connect to our complete guide to Getting Around Mexico, which shows you how to make use of Mexico's extensive and well-developed public and private transport systems.
International Airlines Serving Mexico
Most of the world's major airlines serve Mexico City, and many US carriers also serve principal provincial cities from destinations in the USA.
If you arrive from an international destination and plan to connect (usually in Mexico City) to another location in Mexico, you will need to clear Mexican Immigration and Customs before traveling on to your final destination.
Build-in extra time between your flight connections, as immigration and customs procedures have become more time-consuming in recent years.
See Mexico Entry Requirements for details about immigration and customs procedures in Mexico.
Domestic Flights in Mexico
Mexico has an extensive network of national airports and domestic airlines, including low-cost airlines. Read the extensive guide to Flying in Mexico and connect to the Mexperience Travel Center for a list of Airlines Serving Mexico for full details.